Kitchen by TILAH

Sardines in Bird's Eye Coconut Cream (Sardin Masak Lemak Cili Padi)

Hello Cooks!  Today is quite a cloudy Saturday in Singapore.  No sun and no rain, yet! Hubby has to work the whole day today as there is quite a big project going on at work.  My mother in law is out.  I am at home with the two kids and my kitchen-ing assistant.  Later in the evening, I will be out for yet another good friend's wedding dinner.  I shall bring the other man in my life, Sayf, as a company for the evening.  I am looking forward to meet the rest of my good friends again. I am sure the dinner session would be filled with much fun and laughter.

Anyway, the recipe for sharing today is a simple dish that I cooked last Thursday evening.  As usual, when all fishes are away, don't worry cos sardines will save the day!  Always handy when you stock them in the pantry.  I got to prop the pictures as Suhaym was quite an obliging baby that evening. :)  I was so happy that I kept on snapping.  Don't expect much from me though as I am not a professional!

I always love coconut cream based gravy.  Needless to say that this is yet one of my favourite dishes.  I cannot remember when something is not my favourite! Hee hee... ;p  This is a traditional Malay recipe.  I think every Malay woman would know how to cook it but I am sure there are new cooks out there who might want to learn and give this recipe a try.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and we will get straight to the recipe after. 


2 cans of sardines - sauce drained (I used New Moon brand)
1 small box of coconut cream - 200 ml (I used Kara brand)
1 stalk of lemon grass - crushed and cut into two
2 tomatoes - cut into fours
3 pieces tamarind peels
1-2 small bowls of water
1 teaspoon sugar (or Ajinamoto, if you prefer)
salt to taste

(**Items to be blended with a little water in a food processor)
2 large onions**
6 garlics**
5 red bird's eye chillies** - feel free to add more and have a party if you like it hot cos I would if I could (I used only 2 of this, to lessen the heat)
5 green bird's eye chillies** - feel free to add more if you want more heat (I substituted with 2 green chillies, again to lessen the heat)
1 to 2 cm of fresh turmeric (I substituted with 3/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder)


1.  Heat oil in pan or wok.  Add in lemon grass.  Saute for a few seconds.

2.  Add in the blended ingredients.  Saute until oil separates.

3.  It will take quite a while for the oil to separate.  About ten to fifteen minutes.  The blended mixture will start to appear dry after some time but just continue sautéing until you see oil collecting in between when you make a gap in the centre of your sautéing mix just like in the picture above. 

4.  Add in water.  Add in sugar (or Ajinamoto, if you prefer) and salt to taste.

5.  Bring to a boil.

6.  Add in the tamarind peels.

7.  Add in the coconut cream.

8.  Give a stir.  Let simmer for a minute or two.

9. Add in the sardine pieces.  Fold them in.

10. Add in the tomatoes.  Fold them in.

11.  Bring to a boil whilst stirring every now and then to prevent the cream from curdling.  Once boiled, bring fire to medium and do a taste check.  Let simmer for a minute or two whilst stirring every now and then.

12.  Off fire and serve.

Best eaten with white rice though sometimes I have it with white bread for breakfast in the morning.  Simply yummy!! Happy Kitchen-ing!!


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